Sisters excel as pianists

Anneliese Dailey, left, and her sister Rachel  - Courtesy photo
Anneliese Dailey, left, and her sister Rachel
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Oak Harbor sisters Anneliese and Rachel Dailey have already created impressive resumes for themselves at ages 18 and 16. They appear perfect on paper. And in person, they exceed expectations.

Both girls are accomplished pianists. They have placed in competitions locally and nationally and perform for charity fundraisers, weddings, church services, plays and other events.

Recently, the girls took third place in the Music Teachers National Association Senior Piano Duet Competition in Albuquerque, N.M. Both girls teach piano lessons and are student members of the Washington State Music Teachers Association. Currently, they study under Dr. Peter Mack, a music professor at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle.

“It’s been a parent sacrifice getting us there,” Anneliese said of their weekly visits, and the girls are appreciative of what their parents have done for them.

James Dailey, the girls’ father, is in the Navy and his career has moved the Dailey family all over the United States, but Anneliese and Rachel haven’t minded. They’re homeschooled along with their siblings, and said the moves have given them more opportunities to learn.

“In the process of moving around we’ve had some really phenomenal teachers,” Rachel said.

Anneliese started studying piano when she was four and Rachel began when she was six. Their interest in the piano came from their father, James, who likes playing jazz. Over the years and as the Dailey family grew, James has purchased four family pianos for all of his kids to learn on.

And that’s the other really amazing thing about the Daileys, their family consists of 13 children, 9 of whom were adopted, and they range in age from three to 18. The girls were 12 and 10 when their parents, James and Monica, first started adopting. They said it was something their family was simply called to do and feel blessed to be able to help out other children.

“It’s like each one is meant to be in our family even though we’re not related,” Rachel said.

Around the house the girls help out with chores and teach piano to their younger siblings. Additionally, Anneliese said she’s become the family taxi service now that she has her driver’s license. Both girls stressed their love of being in a large family despite the fact that it comes with its own set of challenges.

“We definitely don’t fit in the car right now, that’s for sure,” Anneliese said.

Anneliese will be attending Whitworth University in the fall where she plans to pursue a music major. Rachel will finish high school next year. In order to help pay for their schooling, the girls are hosting a concert on Aug. 1 at Oak Harbor Lutheran Church at 3 p.m. The concert is sponsored by the Washington Music Teachers Association and is donation-only. The girls will both play a few individual pieces and will also perform a couple of duets, including the Petrushka piece that won them their national third-place prize.

North Whidbey music teacher Judy Prichard suggested the girls do the concert and said it’s truly a must-see event.

“They are fantastic pianists,” Prichard said. “I thought about them doing it simply because they’re so good. We don’t have this opportunity to hear this kind of talent here very often ... everybody will be wowed.”

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